A young whooping crane has died just after being banded for research. According to CBC News, the juvenile crane scratched itself below its bill while it was being captured this summer for tagging in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories, and despite antibiotics that were administered at that time, the wound may have become infected and caused the crane's death. An investigation is ongoing to determine exactly why the bird died, and tagging procedures for these birds will be reviewed to prevent any possible future problems.
There are only about 300 wild whooping cranes in the world, making these large waders one of the most endangered birds in the world. Their wild populations are carefully monitored and tagging programs help researchers monitor the birds' movements and safety.
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Whooping Crane Chick
Photo © International Crane Foundation